Policing has always been a challenging profession, carrying with it many risks for those who take the oath and commit to serving. Taking the oath is the simple part. Keeping the oath is the most important part – the very challenging part. There is a public safety crisis in America and those forces that have deliberately sought to weaken the police-community relationship have made the nation less safe.
As a profession, it is essential that we acknowledge four fundamental truths about policing in America. First, all police officers volunteered to serve in the role. Second, the individual stakes for our officers are high, as the words “we” and “if” were not within the oath that they swore. Third, in swearing their oath, each officer committed individually to lead by example within the profession, and to be a leader in the community that they serve. Fourth, these are exceptionally challenging times for the nation and the public safety profession.
Police executives must both strengthen the internal relationship within their own departments, and advocate for their officers with their elected officials and civic leaders within the community.
The deepest and most visible evidence of the commitment of America's police officers is documented on the Officer Down Memorial Page (https://www.odmp.org/). As of this posting update, more than 25,000 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. Lives lost and lives taken while those officers were keeping their oaths. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13, NIV).